Year after year, the landscape of high-school tennis in Arizona seldom shifts much, particularly in the big-school divisions.
In the Division I state tennis finals, it was business as usual Saturday as Brophy Prep won its fifth boys’ team title in the last six years and Xavier Prep was its usual dominant force in winning its third consecutive championship.
Brophy recovered from major disappointments in the individual competition a week ago when Zach Cihlar was beaten in the singles finals and Christian Franco and Michael Cowan lost in the title game of the doubles play. And Saturday the top-seeded Broncos fell behind by losing four of the six singles matches, but swept all three doubles matches in the team competition and went on to beat Scottsdale’s Desert Mountain High School, the No. 2 seed, 5-4.
The doubles team of J.J. Good and Chase McQueen sealed the championship by winning the final doubles match of the day by beating Nick LaPoint and Mitchell Victor.
On the girls’ side, Xavier had little trouble disposing of Scottsdale’s Chaparral High in the finals – for the third straight year. In fact, not only have the Gators beaten Chaparral for the title the last three years, but swept them in five straight sets all three years.
This was no surprise for anyone familiar with the season’s results. Chaparral, seeded 10th in the state tournament, lost big to Xavier during the regular season, 9-0.
Division II also has its dominant program on the girls’ side as Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson repeated as state team champions to make it 13 titles in the last 15 years. But this year they went into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed and had to beat top-seeded Notre Dame Prep from Scottsdale to begin another string of annual wins. They lost to Ironwood Ridge High School in 2012.
Catalina had a chance to nail down the title early by jumping out to a 3-0 lead, but the Saints rallied to even it at 3-3 and then go ahead when Caitlin Railson and Sara Eversman won their doubles match. When Catalina tied it up a 4-4, it was up to its top doubles team, Kirtana Bhat (singles champion) and Noelle Karp, to bring home the trophy with an 11-10 win in extra session.
The Catalina boys’ team also struggled to win a close doubles match that decided the title – and made it a sweep for the Tucson school that sits on the outskirts of Tucson, between Oro Valley and Flowing Wells.
The task of pulling this one out for the boys fell to the No. 2 doubles team of Connor Oseran and Dalton Reisig. The duo battled to a 5-3 victory against a pair of juniors, Joe Lucker and Andrew Barana, from another Tucson school, Salpointe Catholic.
The win also enabled the Falcons to close out the season undefeated, going 19-0 for the year.